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Barnabas helps survivors of Sri Lanka Easter terror bombings


2 July 2019

Barnabas Fund has given practical help to Christians of Sri Lanka who were devastated by coordinated bomb attacks on Christian targets on Easter Sunday morning. Our support began with covering funeral costs, moved on to medical care for the injured and continues with support for families who lost their breadwinner.

At least 254 people – mainly Sri Lankan Christians – died, either on the spot or later of their injuries. The latest was Arun, known as an active member of Zion Evangelical Church, Batticaloa, who would help anyone in need. Ignoring the wounds that he himself had suffered in the explosion at Zion Church, he comforted the other wounded worshippers until he collapsed.

Arun cared for others instead of himself amid the carnage at Zion Church and later died from his injuries
Arun cared for others instead of himself amid the carnage at Zion Church and later died from his injuries

The 30-year-old Hindu-background convert’s injury was far more serious than he, or anyone else, realised. He was treated for a spinal injury in intensive care for 40 days before succumbing. He was the sole breadwinner and carer for his widowed mother.

Barnabas had already sent funds to help with the funeral costs at Zion Church for the 29 Christians (including at least 14 children) who died there on Easter Day.

Barnabas Fund paid the funeral costs of all 30 bombing victims from Zion Church
Barnabas Fund paid the funeral costs of all 30 bombing victims from Zion Church

Helping the family of a courageous Christian who died confronting a bomber

Another brave and self-sacrificing member of Zion Church was Ramesh, who died in the blast as he escorted the bomber outside the crowded church building. The death toll at Zion Church would likely have been far higher but for Ramesh’s courage. His wife had already experienced great violence and loss during the long-running civil war when her parents were brutally killed. We are supporting his wife and two young children.

Supporting a secret believer injured by a bomb and rejected by her husband

Quietly courageous “Kamala” suffered twice as a victim for her Christian faith that day. She was injured in the suicide bombing at Zion Church on Easter Sunday morning, along with at least 55 other worshippers, and rejected by her family for following Christ. Barnabas Fund is helping Kamala with medical costs and other needs.

Kamala had gone secretly to the Easter service, leaving her baby in the care of her extended family before continuing to church. A convert from Hinduism, her family is opposed to her Christian faith, and Kamala had already suffered violence because of her decision to follow Christ. She was forbidden by her husband from attending church. But on Easter morning, she could not resist going along to worship.

No relative visited Kamala as she lay in hospital. Her serious wounds have not softened her husband’s heart, who forbade her to return home again.

Caption
People mill about the wreckage at one of the sites that was struck by suicide bombers in Sri Lanka on Easter Day

Suffering all too familiar for many of the victims

The vast majority of those killed were Sri Lankan Christians who were deliberately targeted, according to a statement issued by the culprits, Islamic State.

For a large number of the bereaved and injured, suffering is not new. Many endured severe anguish and torment during the civil war that ended ten years ago. Coastal areas, especially in the east and south, were also battered by a deadly tsunami just over 14 years ago. And then there are persecuted converts, like Kamala, who suffered domestic violence from Hindu relatives. Now all have suffered terrorist violence from Islamist bombers.